|Photo credit: Frank Schemberger|
1. The Adoption Trick
Today's pet store puppies comes to you from Madison, Wisconsin. A large, popular store that uses the term "adoption" in their marketing. You could "adopt" a pug puppy for $800 and feel all warm and fuzzy about the wonderful thing you are doing.
Adopting pets is very trendy right now and the pet store industry is trying to cash in on this trend with clever marketing and wording. Some pet stores will purposely keep their puppies in extremely stark, small cages to make the shopper feel sorry for them. Then the shoppers can feel like they are "rescuing" the puppy by "adopting" it. Don't buy the lie. It's not an adoption or a rescue - it's a sale. A pet store sale of a puppy mill puppy.
2. The Money Back Guarantee
Some stores will try to lure you with a promise of a money-back guarantee knowing full well that you will be emotionally attached to that puppy about five minutes after you walk out the door with it. Customers rarely return puppies, because they are afraid of the puppy's outcome; so the pet store doesn't have to make good on the "money-back guarantee". Instead, the customer will absorb the cost of the vet bills when their puppy becomes ill or has genetic flaws, as many pet store puppies do.
The worst case scenario? The new owner can't afford the vet bills and the puppy is surrendered to an animal shelter, contributing to our already overburdened shelter system.
3. The Small, Local, Reputable Breeder Lie
Pet stores will try to convince you that their puppies come from small, local, reputable breeders. Don't be fooled. Small, reputable breeders don't supply pet stores. They have enough demand for their puppies already; because their puppies are sociable, healthy and home-raised. Why would they pay a high margin to the pet store, when they can get the full sales price themselves? Pet store puppies come from commercial breeders who are only concerned with profit.
Some pet stores will tell you that they will reveal the breeder's name and location; but not until you've signed on the dotted line. Again, they know that once you walk out that door with the puppy, the likelihood is very low that you will return it. If pet store staff do give you the name and location, call their bluff and check out the breeder and his facility. You should be allowed to see both of the puppy's parents and the whole facility . You should be allowed to interact with the puppy's parents; checking their temperament and their health.
4. The "Mark Them Up, then Mark Them Down" Trick
Most pet store puppies are overpriced to begin with. It is very common to see the original price "slashed"out in red crayon on the glass, with a "reduced price" below to make it look like the puppy is a good deal. Be an educated consumer and check the prices at your local shelter and at the truly reputable breeders in your area.
Don't buy the pet store lies this Christmas season. Real adoptions occur at shelters, humane organizations, or rescues. Adopt, Don't Shop.
Thank you to my friend and Wisconsin Voters For Companion Animals advisor, Frank Schemberger for providing the photos and the details of the Christmas pet store puppies. A series of these photos and writeups are circulating on Facebook and in local Wisconsin on-line publications. Frank has worked tirelessly over the last several years, photographing and exposing the cruel pet store trade in the Midwest.